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What Jesus Wants for Your Life


Isn’t it enough that Jesus is part of my life?
Is he really supposed to have authority over everything?

I hear these questions a lot in my work with middle school and high school students. And I get it. It’d be so easy if Jesus could just be a piece of my identity pie chart.

We all have an identity pie-chart: identity tags that define what gives our lives meaning. These tags could be related to our education or job. They could define our roles in our families or label the hobbies we pursue. They describe our gender, race, and age. And, if you’re like me, we pretend that being a Christian is just one small part of our overall identity.

We don’t mean to do it.

But we slip into the mindset that we can go to church and that is enough. Maybe we attend a small group, or go to an event the church is putting on, maybe give financially, or serve at a one-off event, and each of these checks the box for identifying as a Christian this season.

However, Jesus wants more from us. He doesn’t just want verbal assent to being a Christ-follower. He wants to live our lives with us. 

When Jesus calls people into relationship with him, he tells them to leave everything behind so that they can follow him. Peter and Levi are told to leave behind their careers (Luke 5:2-11, 27-28). James and John are told to leave behind their view of status, and their pursuits to be seen as the greatest (Mark 10:35-45).

Jesus doesn’t call people to follow him for two hours a week. He calls people to follow him with their lives, turning every part over to him and responding to his word with obedience and sacrifice.

Here’s one example from Luke 9:

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:57-62

At first glance, these interactions feel like an affront to family. But that’s not the point. Jesus wasn’t saying abandon the people that are near and dear to you. Instead, he laid out the cost of truly following him.

Following Jesus isn’t something to put off until you’re older or more mature or more stable financially. Following Jesus isn’t something you can confine to a two-hour window once a week.

The call of the Christian is to submit everything to Jesus –committing our possessions and relationships to him, to serve him, and live a life of dependence on him.

So, in this passage, Jesus isn’t saying “don’t love your father”. He’s saying, “My relationship with you is the most important relationship.” 

He isn’t saying “no longer speak to your family.” But his voice now carries the ultimate weight. 

He isn’t saying we should be homeless. He’s saying, “Your possessions are not what define your greatness. Be willing to give things up for the sake of my kingdom.”

Do you live like this is true?

Which relationships do you elevate above Jesus? What areas are you hesitant to give over to his authority? Are there sin patterns you’re prone to shrug off as “not a big deal”? How do you see yourself getting caught up in identity tags that prioritize status, wealth, and comfort?

Jesus’s words in Luke make it clear that Jesus wants more than a couple hours of our Sundays. He wants us, completely.

This isn’t a legalistic call to do more—to give up more of your time or to update your Christian résumé. Instead, it’s a call to bring Jesus into all parts of your life and see how you’re changed. 

In Matthew 16:24-25 Jesus explains the high-cost of following him:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

In response to the grace we’ve been given, we’re called to turn every part of ourselves toward Jesus. This means loving others deeply, sacrificially, and in a way that is distinct from non-Christians. This means being convicted of sin patterns, and working to cut that sin off, rather than justifying it. This means being in deep community, challenging and encouraging our friends to become more like Jesus.

Where is God calling you into more obedience?

Is it better to do the right thing because you have to or because you want to? Learn about the importance of obeying God out of love for him on this episode of TMBT.